Week two. I still love this place. I’m starting to wonder if there will come a time that I don’t love this place.
This past week, I began an internship with a well-respected organization called Rape Crisis. Not many people in our group have the opportunity to stay in the township for work. Many of them are working in the city centre or in Observatory (Obs). As an outsider, I’ve been working to understand how the organization works and learn just how I can be a resource or help. There’s a teeter-totter feeling right now as I vacillate between what I think is appropriate and/or useful.
Rape Crisis Khayelitsha is connected to Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust. Established in 1976, this powerhouse NGO was established with the intention of helping women and seeking justice. Justice is a key component to note, as the South African government has not always handled violence against women appropriately nor fairly. I’m thrilled to be here alongside women working to empower and offer healing support to other women. furthermore, RCCT is well rounded in all areas which impacts violence against women. Through research, activism, counseling, and education, RCCT is a major player in the arena of women’s rights in South Africa.
Naturally, I start my first day stoked to learn more.
Currently I’m based in Khayelisha, which is awesome considering it’s only a 5 minute kombi commute from my home. It’s cold out here right now, so I’m grateful to take the short trek to the kombi station and a small jaunt over to the office. I head straight for the tea kettle and boil water for tea each morning. My saving grace.
So yesterday, something a bit unusual happened at my internship. How this happened is still a bit of a haze but I was scheduled to give a speech yesterday.
At least that’s what I believe the intention was I as understood it. This opportunity was certainly unexpected. Working for the Rape Crisis in Khayelitsha, there are several speaking engagements and I was tapped as one of the speakers. It really is amazing how many aspects of the NGO process I’ve seen since starting with the organization just a few days back.
We all pile into a coworker’s sedan and head into Cape Town for this youth event. We arrive on time and filter in with other students to the center to prepare to speak. The itinerary handed to me has Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust written on the bottom, we are the last NGO to speak that day. I’ve compiled a speech and the longer we sit and listen to other speakers, I begin to feel increasingly less qualified to take the podium. Wrestling with my own questions, I notice the time has gone beyond the original plan. The event is ending. We aren’t called. I don’t speak. Relief and confusion pass over me. The other women note this happens sometimes, but are generous in their consolation. I’m still confused. The event was incredible, maybe it was a mistake to ask me to speak in the first place? Perhaps.
Tomorrow we head to the wineries. Oh yes, I said the wineries! Every Saturday we get together and do a group project and tomorrow is wine tasting. Its such a strange feeling to feel go between two different worlds on such a consistent basis.
Last night was Nontsassa’s birthday – of course as we are the place to be (everyone hangs out at our place) – we had a HUGE party! Laurel and I cooked dinner. Anyway, we tried to cook dinner. The intention was “American” traditional dishes, our treat. It was interesting for sure. Hah – we had a Braai (BBQ in SA) and everyone sat around and laughed and laughed. Just like home.
LOVE YOU LOVE YOU,